Obsessive-Compulsive Animation Fuels ‘Ruben Leaves’

Short of the Day

OR Should I Stay or Should I Go?

To varying degrees, we’re all a little obsessive-compulsive. We’ve all felt the urge – nay, the need – to run back into the house just after leaving to make sure we didn’t leave the stove on, or the water running, a window open or a door unlocked, even though in our rational minds we know there’s nothing the matter. It’s a habit that comes from being human, a hiccup in our intelligence that forces us to defy what we know to be true and give in to paranoia.

For most of us, these urges can be dismissed or overpowered by logic. The stove isn’t on, we know, the door is locked, we remember doing it. For others, however, not only can the compulsion not be ignored, it can cross out of the realm of the imagined and infect their reality.

This is the thematic basis for Ruben Leaves, a five-minute animated film we discovered over at Short of the Week from Swiss director Frederic Siegel. In it our hero, Ruben, is just trying to make an important morning meeting but every time he gets out of his apartment, some nagging premonition draws him back inside. Ruben Leaves isn’t a mere display of a psychological quirk, though, it’s a brain-bending narrative in which the absurd begins to meld with the actual, and the result is at truly captivating short that creates a sort of paranoia all its own.

Once you’ve dug the film, be sure to check out this interview with Siegel on the film’s origins and making.

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